College of Liberal Arts names 2012 Distinguished Alumni

April 16, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University's College of Liberal Arts honored five distinguished alumni Friday (April 13) during its 2012 annual awards banquet.

Recipients are Thomas D. Christopoul, Jon D. Holstine, Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, Marjorie Randolph and Rick Smith.

* Christopoul is a partner at Falconhead Capital LLC, a private investment firm in New York City. He also is an active venture capital investor through Somerset Shore Associates Inc., a private investment company he founded in 2006. He earned his master's degree in organizational communication in 1988.

* Holstine is president of Holstine and Associates Inc., a consulting and marketing firm. Holstine's career in public affairs included service to academia and government, such as serving as a professional staff member on the House of International Relations Committee and as an investigator with the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. He earned his bachelor's degree in political science in 1959.

* Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations at Nielsen, a company that measures what consumers watch and buy in more than 100 countries. She is responsible for widening the scope of the company's government, community and corporate social responsibility programs. She also oversees the company's philanthropic commitment to multicultural communities. She earned her bachelor's degree in communication in 1984.

* Randolph is a retired senior vice president of human resources at Walt Disney Studios. Prior to her work with Disney, she was senior vice president and general counsel of Mervyn's, the California-based department store chain. She earned her bachelor's degree in political science in 1966.

* Smith is executive vice president and general manager with the Houston Texans. He previously worked for the Denver Broncos and coached at Purdue, where he was a safety and defensive captain for the Boilermakers as an undergraduate. He earned his bachelor's degree in sociology in 1992.

This is the 27th year the College of Liberal Arts has recognized its alumni, including previous honorees such as C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, former Disney Studios president Peter Schneider, and the late basketball coach and player John Wooden. The college has recognized 117 alumni to date.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Source: Christine Sharp, director of alumni relations and special Events of the College of Liberal Arts, 765-494-7884,

Note to Journalists: Complete biographies and publication-quality photographs of the 2012 distinguished alumni are available at